I completed yet another vibrant year, my third at Financial Radiance on 1st December, 2019. The mission I started in 2016, with the vision of helping my clients globally achive financial freedom. While I had described my second year as a roller coaster ride, this year was with even more twists and turns. Lot of lesson learnings during this year about which I would like to write.
Last time on the eve of second year anniversary, I had re-launched my website www.financialradiance.com, making it more social media friendly. I had resolved to write blogs on my website regularly, as part of my new year resolution. Started well, was writing far more regularly and was receiving good feedback and reviews. But then, just like with most of the new year resolutions, this too lost steam over the way, as I get busier with the catering to client’s customised requirements clientele.
But then, as they say, if one channel closes, other channels open. So, that happened with me as well and I started WhatsApp broadcast groups – one dedicated for my clients and one for whosoever is interested in keeping up to date on personal finance matters. This has been a faster and efficient mechanism of keeping in touch with everyone and has been going on quite well. Though some day, I do hope to return with far more regular blogs on my website, so keep tuned in for that.
This year I also increased my technical understanding about the working of website and learnt the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital media. I will be incorporating my learnings in making my own website more efficient.
As my presence in financial advisory business as an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) increased, I was happy to get recognition in the media. In the beginning of this year, my success story as an IFA was published by Mr Brijesh Dalmia. Then, later in the year, Mint, the leading financial newspaper, published a GuruSpeak write up, as part of the UTI Swatantra Initiative. The response to my financial advisory business has been very satisfying, thanks to the support of all my clients Globally who have provided referrals, and that continues to be the number one source for all my new clientele. Early adoption of technology has been the number one reason for my expansion in clientele, since operationally the work continues to be manageable, thus allowing me ample time to stay connected to my clients. Happy to mention that my office continues to be paperless since the time I started business three years back. All my relationship managers at various Asset Management Companies continue to support me on my go-green initiative by not sending any paper-based forms to me.
Every business goes through challenges and I had my own fair share too. The change in SEBI regulations last year had an impact this year on the earnings. A rapid increase in the margins and stopping of upfront commissions meant that volumes and client retention had become even more important for the business to sustain. I was surprised to see that while my business volumes were increasing, my revenues continued to decline month on month, which also had a double impact due to the depressed market conditions in 2018 and part of 2019. I have always been a believer of strong integrity and continue to do right things for people without worrying for the results. Happy to see a beginning of a reversal in trend already and with India poised for a very strong growth in future, my optimism is even higher! I do believe that the decisions taken by SEBI are in the right spirit for the benefit of investors. Eventually, it will be the survival of the fittest in this industry and those who are able to provide value to their clients would in fact thrive in this profession.
I also had few interesting observations this year which I would like to share. There had been a few prospects who had a detailed conversation with me about their financial goals, their investment plans, insurance plans etc and were very enthusiastic to proceed further with the discussed plan. Then suddenly I did not hear from them. I assumed a lack of interest in pursuing further, but was surprised to receive a call after a long gap from many of them. When I queried for the reason behind it, mostly, the answer was lack of time. I find that a little unsettling. If we do not plan our own finances, then who else will. An advisor is only an enabler to ignite the need for financial planning and can provide directions and answer questions. But the ownership continues to lie with individuals, since it is their money! Over my last three years as CFP, the experience has also been that those who are proactive and also action oriented actually end up doing very well on their personal finances.
This year I also started doing Webinars, first for me. I have been doing Investor Awareness Programs (IAPs) as in person sessions regularly, but soon realized Webinars to be completely different since you cannot judge the reaction of audience as in a face-to face session. Also, for the need to speak continuously in such sessions without a pause. But, have really been very delighted to receive great reviews for the webinars as well as I keep getting invited for repeat sessions. If your company or educational institute or a residential society is interested in having a personal finance session or a webinar, then please do get in touch with me. Providing knowledge and education on personal finance topics continues to be my passion which gives me a lot of personal satisfaction, at the end of the day.
Towards the closure of this year, I feel that I have seen a complete business cycle in this profession. When I started in late 2016, markets were at a peak with high valuation, then we had a downturn in the market in 2018 (though I still do not consider it to be a significant downturn, since we have seen real lows as on 2000 or in 2008, but was a good indication) and then recently markets being at an all-time high, though it is not a generic rally but few stock specific rally. I felt it was a good time for me to do a very comprehensive review of the portfolio of all my clients, understanding the various funds’ performance across life cycles and make suitable corrections and recommendations wherever needed. I do want to mention that my own personal investments also continue to be in most of the funds which I recommend and that also means a change to my own portfolio as well. The last two months were very hectic professionally as I am now towards the closure of the review with all my clients and look forward to the fourth year in this profession. I am confident about the investment future in India and feel we are very well positioned for success, financially speaking.
If you would like to get in touch with me, then please do reach out. Here is my contact information. If you would like to read my previous anniversary blogs, then please follow the links below:
Until we meet next time, signing off now.